With Friday evening’s signing of free-agent defensive end Taco Charlton, we had to know more about the former first-round pick who has played for the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins. So on Saturday, Matt went to the film to see how Charlton might work for the Kansas City Chiefs.
It has to be very clear that Charlton is still a complete work in progress who had two very defensive line-needy teams move on from him. His play is like a roller coaster with only moderate highs through three seasons, but there are highs. His physical profile and play style fit the Chiefs incredibly well and if they can continue to develop his hands as a pass rusher, he could become a lot more dangerous.
On Sunday, we learned the Chiefs had signed undrafted free agent quarterback Shea Patterson, who started his college career at Ole Miss before transferring to Michigan.
In two seasons (26 games) with the Wolverines under former NFL head coach Jim Harbaugh, Patterson completed 424 passes for 5,661 yards — with a completion percentage of 60.1 — and threw 45 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions for a passer rating of 144.2. He also rushed for 323 yards (and scored seven touchdowns) on 163 attempts.
Regarded as one of the top college quarterback prospects in the nation, Patterson ended up going undrafted at the conclusion of his collegiate career. He will be competing with Jordan Ta’amu (who was Patterson’s backup at Ole Miss — and got the Rebels’ starting job when Patterson transferred to Michigan) to become the Chiefs’ third quarterback behind Patrick Mahomes and Chad Henne.
With the signing of two players over the weekend, the Chiefs needed to release a couple of players. On Monday, we learned they were tight end Alize Mack and running back Mike Weber.
Mack, 23, played at Notre Dame and entered the NFL a year ago as a seventh-round pick for the New Orleans Saints. He didn’t make the it through the team’s final roster countdown, but was signed to their practice squad — only to be released before the end of September. He spent a couple of weeks on the Pittsburgh Steelers practice team and then joined the Chiefs’ taxi squad in early November. He was released in late November, but signed a reserve/futures contract with the Chiefs in January.
Weber, 22, has a similar story. An Ohio State Buckeye, he was drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round of 2019. He also ended up on the team’s practice squad after final cutdowns, but stayed with the Cowboys all season before getting a reserve/future contract with the Chiefs in January.
Then Craig went to the film to evaluate rookie linebacker Willie Gay Jr., whom the Chiefs selected in the second round of the NFL Draft.
The Chiefs have needed an athletic linebacker to help round out their second level, and I believe they’ve found one in Willie Gay.
He adds range, coverage potential, blitzing and impact play ability to arguably the Chiefs weakest position group. House gets a moldable player to develop into what Steve Spagnuolo searched for — and couldn’t find — last offseason.
I believe that Gay has the potential to be a day-one starting WILL linebacker for this defense. His athletic traits would be a major upgrade if he has the playbook down. However, if Spagnuolo and House want to get him some on-field development, I could see the Chiefs utilizing him at SAM linebacker early on. That would move Wilson back to WILL linebacker, where he played after Lee’s demotion. It could gain Gay the necessary reps to learn the system and speed of the game at the NFL level while still keeping the athleticism on the field.
On Tuesday, John explained how the NFL’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t increase team roster sizes to 55, but does allow players to dress as many as two additional players on game days — and designate up to two practice squad players as eligible to be on the game-day roster.
As noted before, the normal rules about moving a player from the practice squad to the active roster remain in place. But the new CBA adds an alternative method called the Standard Elevation Addendum (SEA).
In many news articles about the CBA, brief descriptions of the SEA have led to a misconception that NFL rosters were increasing to 55 players — but this isn’t the case.
The SEA has its roots in the 2011 CBA’s Contagious Disease Addendum (CDA). This provision allowed a team that had been granted a roster exemption because one of its players had been infected with a contagious disease to easily (and temporarily) elevate a practice-squad player for a game. The player would be paid 1/17 of the appropriate NFL minimum salary for the game — and afterward, would automatically be returned to the practice squad. There was no requirement that they be paid as a regular player for three weeks — or pass through the waiver system before returning.
The new SEA does exactly the same thing — except that no doctor’s note (a roster exemption) is required; teams may use it for any reason they wish. It may be used on as many as two practice-squad players per game.
On Wednesday, we brought you new Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend’s press appearance, where the undrafted free agent spoke about replacing Dustin Colquitt.
“I’m really excited for the chance to step in after a guy like Dustin — he’s an absolute legend,” added Townsend. “It’s exciting to have the chance to try and live up to a standard that he’s set. That’s something that doesn’t scare me. It excites me. To me, it’s an opportunity to try and do what he’s done.”
What likely made the Chiefs even more comfortable to make the move from the 38-year-old to the 23-year-old was Townsend’s ability to serve as the Chiefs’ holder on day one.
“I’ve been holding since high school,” said Townsend. “It’s something that I’m fairly confident in. Like I said, I’ve been a holder since high school, and I also held the two seasons that I played at Florida and we did pretty well there.”
The Chiefs gave up a 2021 sixth-round pick to trade back into the draft to get Tulane cornerback BoPete Keyes in the seventh round. Kent went to the film to see what the team saw in Keyes.
Keyes’ size, athleticism and physicality will help him stick on a roster as he develops at cornerback. Keyes will likely have to play special teams to maintain a role on the 53-man roster, but that’s not a problem.
“I’m comfortable on special teams,” Keyes said. “Special teams changes the game way more than people realize. I feel like playing special teams is something I’ll do forever.”
The Chiefs were aggressive to grab a player with prototypical size and length to fit Spagnuolo’s profile. Keyes has all the tools to be a quality player in the NFL.
He still needs developing, but the good news for him is he should be able to earn that time to develop by playing special teams, where he should succeed. This pick has a chance to be a steal of a pick to go on top of an already great draft class.
With the 2020 NFL schedule set to be released on Thursday night, Ron examined four matchups we would love to see as the Chiefs begin their title defense.
Historically, some season openers featured rematches from the previous postseason. A matchup with the Houston Texans would certainly fit the bill.
Things haven’t been so hot in Houston ever since they took that 24-0 lead in the second quarter of the Divisional round postseason game in January. Not only did they blow the three-score lead, they also traded away star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and got an overpaid running back in return — all while not making significant upgrades to the team in general.
Whether they progress or regress, they still have one of the best young quarterbacks in the league in quarterback Deshaun Watson. His presence in a game makes it a must-watch — so him and Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes together would make for a great way to start the season.
As it turned out, the Texans would be the Chiefs opponent for the season opener at Arrowhead — and the schedule would include a lot of nationally-televised games. And don’t forget: you can always find the preseason and regular-season schedule and results under the Resources tab on Arrowhead Pride’s Home page.
For the second season in a row, the Chiefs have the maximum of five scheduled primetime games. They will have an opportunity to get one more primetime game before the end of the season via flex. All five of the Chiefs primetime games fall within the first 13 weeks of the season. The Chiefs only have six Noon games on their schedule, a reflection of having one of the best players in the game in Patrick Mahomes and being the reigning Super Bowl champions.
The Chiefs play the 18th-toughest schedule in the league in 2020, according to CBS Sports (full rankings based upon 2019 win percentage).
With the schedule in place, Ron closed the week by going through it game-by-game, coming up with the first prediction of the season — and giving you a chance to vote on what you think will happen.
Final Record: 13-3
This record may be the floor for this team.
I truly believe the roster continuity will put this team at such an advantage over most other NFL teams. I think it will be noticeable in the beginning of the season. As much as this team seems unbeatable, I won’t buy into an undefeated regular season though. I think there are flaws that will be exposed by certain teams on the schedule — and injuries and fatigue always have to factor in.
The team will be the first overall seed in the AFC with the 13-3 record — and will boast the league’s MVP as their quarterback for the second time in three years.